Studio Anna kitsch-fest

Studio Anna wall plates & salt and pepper shakers
made in Australia 1950s

I am particularly drawn to kitsch pottery that has landscape or botanical images…so souvenir ware from the 50s is right up my street! I have posted Studio Anna pottery previously- you might remember that it was situated right near where I now live, in inner-Sydney.

This very kitschy souvenirware was very popular in the 50s – and then it went out of fashion [in a big way] in the 70s and 80s. Rightly so, the appropriation – and kitschisation- of indigenous motifs was debated and condemned. Now, in this post-modernist era, enough time has passed and enough discussion ensued that we can now look on these very dated images with fondness and nostalgia.

The wall plates have a hanging device on the back, so they can be – hung on a wall; here the cities of Adelaide and Albury are celebrated.  The salt and pepper shakers celebrate Moree. A nice start to a Studio Anna collection.

This collection is for sale: $AU80

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Gunda Pottery

Gunda Pottery vasesGunda Pottery
made in Melbourne, Australia 1950s

This is a pair of small vases by Harry Whyte for Gunda Pottery, which manufactured ceramic art pieces out of Melbourne in the 50s and 60s. The aboriginal motifs were produced for the souvenirware trade, and while the pair were sold as a pair- they are slightly different in form and motif.

Both pieces are hand-signed by Harry Whyte ‘HW’ on the base; Harry didn’t always sign his work believing the forms and motifs to be quite avant-garde and so instantly recognisable as his work. Certainly the organic forms of the vases were very contemporary for the 50s.

My collection contains a fair few Aboriginal motifs…once considered to be in very poor taste,  these 50s pieces are old and retro enough to be viewed as kitsch through the ironic lens of post-modernism. Cultural appropriation ain’t what it used to be!

The pair of Australian pottery is very collectible, and is for sale: $AUD75

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Florenz pottery

Florenz pottery [1950s]Florenz mug, made in Sydney Australia, c.1955
Florenz vase, made in Sydney Australia, c.1956

Two Florenz slip cast pottery pieces- both with unmistakably kitsch aboriginal motifs. This was Australia in the 50s when Post-war arts and crafts saw a rise in the popularity of Australiana – replacing traditional English motifs with ‘Australian’ themes; invariably Aboriginal motif works were black, tan and white.

I have featured Florenz on this blog before- salt and pepper shakers, jugs, ashtrays- all with these stylised indigenous motifs- the items were for the modern new kitchen but also sold as touristware.

Pottery decorated with Aboriginal designs is becoming increasingly collectible. The mug comes complete with its original foil sticker- noting that it is hand painted; and the vase is incised with a hand written ‘Florenz’ on the underside; it too is hand painted.

Florenz pottery at its best: these pieces are for sale: $AUD90

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50s Australiana

50s Aboriginal motif coastersAboriginal motif coasters
made in Australia c1950s

My collection contains a fair few Aboriginal motifs, invariably sourced from the 40s and 50s when Aboriginal people were considered to be as exotic –and so fair game as a source for souvenirware- as the rest of the Australian environment. By the 60s Aboriginal peoples had the right to vote in Australia and generally a deeper cultural respect saw these usually tasteless/ often offensive depictions cease.

For a long time considered to be in very poor taste, Aboriginal motifs are now are retro and ironic enough to be embraced again. Especially if they are as strongly graphic as these ‘silhouette’ images. Printed on cork, these six coasters all have different images of children at play in their environment. The coasters are of their time: aboriginal motifs were invariably in ochre colours and the black image on the brown cork background is so 50s.

The coasters are unused and were taken out of packaging to photograph. They are for sale: $AUD45

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